New Fuel Economy Rule

According to the officials, President Obama last month  announced that his administration will develop  new medium- and heavy-duty fuel economy standards by March 31st, 2014. The announcement was made at a Safeway Distribution Center in Upper Marlboro, Md  to  the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The first round of greenhouse gas emission rules- posted in 2011 –  set standards for model years 2014 through 2018. It focused on efficiencies obtained by refinements to tractors and engines.  According to the White House announcement EPA and NHTSA will assess engine and powertrain improvements, aerodynamics, weight reduction, improved tires, automatic engine shutdown and improving accessories such as water pumps and fans, as well as hybrid technologies.

The fact sheet does not mention it, but EPA has indicated that it will look at trailers as well as power equipment.

Trailer aerodynamics can be an important factor in fuel efficiency but EPA and NHTSA stayed away from the subject in the first rule. They cited the complexity of trying to regulate equipment that is so often interchanged with varied power units, and a lack of familiarity with that market.

Environmental groups and a trucking industry alliance including large fleet operators FedExCorp.  and Con-way Inc. came out in favor of the order while a representative of smaller operators expressed worries that coming regulations would raise prices on future truck purchases.

The nation’s largest group of truckers is speaking out against President Obama’s Tuesday announcement ordering federal regulators to increase fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas standards for trucks beyond the 2018 model year.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association warns the plan could put the cost of new medium and heavy-duty trucks out of reach for many truckers.

It says the standards will continue to push the cost of new trucks skyward, forcing many small-business truckers and fleet owners to hold onto older trucks and put off buying new equipment as long as they can.

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